How to Handle (and Prevent!) Dental Emergencies on Your Vacation
By Dr. Greg Riley
The temperature is getting warmer and the days are getting longer — summertime must be just around the corner! As a long-time Juno Beach dentist, I know that means peak vacation time is just around the corner too. If you're using your much-deserved PTO to unwind on the beach, then the LAST thing you want to deal with is a toothache. After all, even a minor one can make trying new foods and sleeping peacefully nearly impossible. Keep reading as I share a few must-know tips for preventing dental emergencies as well as a step-by-step guide on what to do if you do experience one on vacation.
First, Let's Talk About How to Prevent Dental Emergencies
If a dental emergency arises while on vacation, you can, of course, find a local dentist like me to help. However, it's best to avoid these situations altogether to keep your vacation as stress-free as possible. Here are four key ways to help prevent a dental injury during your time off:
Oral Hygiene Essentials to Pack in Your Bag
- Visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning beforehand
- Maintain a solid oral hygiene regimen before, during, and after your vacation
- Avoid unhealthy dental habits, like smoking and chewing on ice
- Keep your consumption of sugary foods and beverages to a minimum
Whether you're going away for a few days or an entire week, it's important to pack your bag with more than just shoes, clothes, and underwear — you need all of your oral hygiene essentials too! A few staples to pack are a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss, and a travel-sized mouthwash. It's also a good idea to include some dental emergency-related items, like ibuprofen. Lastly, make sure to include the information of a local dentist. It may seem excessive, but you'll be glad you did if you end up needing their phone number and address in a hurry!
A Step-by-Step Guide to Handling a Dental Emergency While on Vacation
Ideally, your vacation will be nothing short of relaxing and rejuvenating. However, if you do happen to experience a dental emergency, then:
Getting a dental injury likely isn't on your itinerary. That doesn't mean that it won't happen though, which is why it's so important to be prepared. That way, even a slight hiccup like a dental emergency won't ruin your much-deserved vacation.
- Assess the damage — Dental emergencies include everything from a sudden toothache to a completely knocked-out tooth. So, priority number one is to assess the damage. If you are struggling with a potentially life-threatening symptom, like difficulty breathing or a fractured jaw, then heading to the nearest ER is the best course of action. For all other dental-related injuries, visit a dentist.
- Take action — Once you've assessed the damage and determined where to seek help, there are a few things you can do. Gently rinsing your mouth out with water, using a cold compress to minimize any swelling, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever are a few common actions patients take until their appointment.
- Visit a skilled nearby dentist — Whether you have to go to the ER first or you're able to head straight to a dental office, it's important to remember that only dentists can treat tooth-related injuries. The sooner you visit them, the sooner your pain-free smile will be restored.
First published on ArticleBiz.com 19 April 2022. For more info, read about Juno Beach Smiles Doctors and Preventive Dentistry.
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